Post Israel Bureau Chief Justifies Paying Palestinian Terrorists
By Stephen M. Flatow
May 4, 2017
The Washington Post’s chief correspondent in Israel
has discarded all pretense of objectivity and is now openly lobbying for a
political cause — and it’s one of the most distasteful causes imaginable:
justifying the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) policy of paying imprisoned
terrorists and their families.
William Booth, the Post’s longtime Jerusalem bureau
chief, has never been very careful about keeping his personal opinions out of
his news articles. But his May 3 report on PA payments to terrorists crossed the
line from journalism to outright advocacy.
“Israel and its congressional supporters,” Booth
reported, are urging President Donald Trump to press PA President Mahmoud Abbas
“to stop social welfare payments that the Palestinian Authority makes to the
families of Palestinian prisoners and assailants either wounded or killed by
Israeli forces during terrorist attacks.”
Let’s dissect that remarkable sentence.
Start with Booth’s phrase “social welfare payments.”
The obvious purpose of the phrase “social welfare” is to make the payments
seem more palatable. The dictionary definition of “social welfare” is:
“organized public or private social services for the assistance of
Booth apparently wants Washington Post readers to
think the recipients of the funds are innocent widows and orphans — who, after
all, should not be blamed for the acts of their terrorist relatives, and
therefore deserve government support.
That line of thinking is, of course, absurd. The family of
Dylann Roof, perpetrator of the June 2015 South Carolina church massacre, is not
responsible for what he did — but that does not mean they deserve to be
supported by the US government. The siblings of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy
McVeigh were not to blame for his deeds, but that does not mean they merit
receiving “social welfare” payments because their brother was executed.
There are two obvious reasons the PA financially supports
terrorists’ families. One is the PA wants to encourage the terrorists to
proceed with their murderous plans, by giving them the peace of mind that their
families will be taken care of if they are killed or jailed. The second is the
PA reveres the terrorists’ families, viewing them as an admired part of the
Palestinian war against Israel. But you won’t find any acknowledgment of these
obvious facts in William Booth’s dispatches.
The payments to the families, however, are just part of the
problem. There is also the matter of PA payments made directly to the terrorists
themselves. Mr. Booth somehow forgot to mention this inconvenient information.
Thanks to a detailed report published by the Jerusalem
Center for Public Affairs, we know that Palestinian terrorists who are currently
in Israeli prisons receive up to $3,429 monthly from the PA. The longer a
terrorist’s sentence — meaning, the more Jews murdered — the more the
terrorist is paid. Some of the terrorists involved in the murder of my daughter
Alisa, in 1995, are among the recipients of these generous PA stipends.
There is an additional category of terrorists who receive
payments directly from the PA. Terrorists who have been released from prison
receive a grant of up to $25,000. Once again, the PA uses a sliding scale —
the more time you served, the more you get paid.
There are quite a few released terrorists who have received
these PA grants. Some completed their jail sentences (why they were not given
life sentences is beyond me). Some were set free in lopsided prisoner exchanges.
Some were released in unreciprocated “gestures” — the kind of
“gestures” State Department officials such as Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk
were always pressuring Israel to make, supposedly to encourage the PA to return
to the negotiating table.
I don’t recall those “gestures” ever accomplishing
anything except putting more killers on Israel’s streets. Nor do I recall
William Booth ever writing any follow-up stories in The Washington Post about
Palestinian terrorists who are set free and then return to terrorism. I don’t
remember Booth ever asking Ross or Indyk if they regret pressuring Israel to set
The Post recently announced Booth is being
promoted. Sometime this summer, he will relocate to London to become the
newspaper’s bureau chief there. Is there any chance his successors in
Jerusalem will be objective reporters, rather than advocates for the
Palestinians, like Booth? I’m not holding my breath.